If you have been out of work for some time, or fear that your skills are rusty or outdated, it may be worth doing a course to get yourself up to speed or gain a qualification, learn a new skill, take a degree or simply brush up on what you know already.
For general information and inspiration visit www.nationalcareersservice.direct.gov.uk
If you left school without getting basic qualifications such as maths or English, if English is not your first language, or you would like to learn to use a computer, there are lots of courses available in Surrey, and many are free of charge. If you have a computer you can also learn online. For details of basic skills courses go to www.learndirect.co.ukor contact your local college. The BBC offers basic English and maths skills at www.bbc.co.uk/skillswise.Basic skills courses are usually low cost or sometimes free of charge.
Vocational courses can help you gain the skills for a particular industry or sector with hands-on training. National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs) are usually work-based awards that are achieved through assessment in your work place. Other vocational courses can be taken while studying at college, if you have a part-time job or access to a work placement. Subjects include horticulture, animal care, art and design, construction and building, and hair and beauty, and health and social care.
If your caring role makes it difficult for you to attend courses at your local college or adult education centre, a distance learning course might be the best solution, particularly if you have access to a computer and the internet at home. Distance learning is done primarily at home, with tutor support either on-line or in the form of a few short sessions at a college or similar location near you. This way of learning is flexible but you do need to be committed and self-disciplined. Try The Open University www.open.ac.ukor the National Extension Collegewww.nec.ac.uk.
There is a wealth of information available on the UCAS website, www.ucas.com
If you feel you need do something for yourself and meet other people, then an adult education course could be the answer. Covering everything from ceramics to computer skills, jewellery making to aromatherapy, and much more including a wide range of foreign languages, there are lots of options. Courses usually run once a week, often in the evenings, but there are also day time or weekend courses available in a number of subjects. Some courses, although not many, are free, but some may be available at a reduced cost if you are on Carers Allowance. Go to https://www.surreycc.gov.uk/schools-and-learning/adult-learning
to find out more. You may also like to contact U3Aat www.u3a.org.uk. We can advise you further if you are not sure which course might be best for you.
Don’t let the cost of study put you off. In some circumstances it may be possible to obtain full fee remission through the relevant college or training provider. There may also be other options, including grants, bursaries and loans.
If you declare your wish to train during your Carers Needs Assessment, it may be possible to get funding in the form of a Carers Direct Payment.